Monday, April 26, 2010

Lincoln Logs for grown-ups.

We'll be exhibiting at the Living Green Expo In St. Paul this weekend and I wanted to make some unique (and sustainable) eye candy for our booth. I decided to build a table, working with one of our maple slabs cut with the Alaskan mill and a reclaimed timber. Here's the rough slab after being kiln dried.

I don't have the proper tools for working with material this large, so it took a lot of hours with the planer and sander to smooth it up. After about 10 coats of shellac, it looked pretty good.

I cut mortises in the table top and legs to mate them together like the Lincoln Logs we played with as kids. The fit was tight enough that the table is surprising stable without any fasteners. Here's the finished product, ready for a trip to the big city.

If you're in St. Paul this weekend, come check out the expo at the state fairgrounds, and stop by to say "hi" if you do!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If you're in northern Minnesota this weekend, come check out our 2nd annual Iron Range Earth Fest in Mountain Iron on Saturday. Lots of exhibitors, vendors, and presentations on a variety of sustainability topics- should be a blast!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Solar Sunday- Part III

It's been a couple weeks since working on the solar experiment, as other projects came up. I built some simple wood brackets to fasten the collector to the south wall of our rainwater tank 'shed'. I had planned to mount the pumping station outside on the west wall of the shed, but decided at the last minute to instead put it inside, sheltered from the rain. Access is obviously more difficult (I have to crawl underneath and through a hatch in the raised floor to get at it!), but it'll work for now. The outlet end of the collector passes through the wall to the pumping station- I made the connection using a flexible water heater connector. The inlet pipe to the collector (bottom right) also has a flexible connector. I have gauges at both the inlet and outlet ends of the collector so I can measure the temperature gain, and knowing the pump flow rate, calculate the BTU output of the system. We're using this collector to pump heat through tubing lines buried under our raised bed gardens. All that's left is to run the supply and return lines to the gardens and it should be ready to make heat...maybe this week :)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Homegrown furniture.

I don't yet have the skills to build furniture, but i'm not too bad at timber framing and we still have piles of barn I upcycled them into this post-and-beam bed frame. The joints are all mortise and tenon and it is quite solid, but I decided to add metal brackets on the inside corners for good measure- so total project cost was about $5!